When the Minister of Foreign Affairs recently appeared before parliament in a bid to seek ratification of Rwanda’s bid to rejoin the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), she made a very pertinent observation.
A question was raised as to why the country was seeking to be readmitted to a Central African economic bloc yet it was at the same time a member of the East African Community; which part of Africa does Rwanda belong to, east or west?
Her answer clearly defined the country’s aspirations; Rwanda was aiming for a far wider affiliation; the United States of Africa instead of the narrower regional identity.
The idea of a united Africa has been mooted for the last 50 years but never went beyond the “thinking” stage.
Many post-independence African leaders were torn between imposed ideologies; either pro East or West political divide.
They failed to sail above imported foreign ideologies that did more to divide the continent than build a cohesive and prosperous Africa. Even today, smaller trading blocs find it difficult to unite their forces for the common interests of their people.
Many are phobic about watering down their national identities in a pool of many others, ignoring the fact that in unity there is strength.
As long as countries on the African continent continue on their individual selfish journeys, the long cherished dream of seamless borders and a really united Africa will remain a pipe dream. But as far as dreaming goes, it does not matter as long as one fights tooth and nail to realize their dreams.